Republicans are divided. President Obama won't budge. And more and more, it looks like the fiscal-cliff deadline of Dec. 31 will be missed.
The fiscal cliff negotiations seem to be foundering on Barack Obama's insistence on higher tax rates on high earners and House Republican leaders' insistence on opposing them. The president believes he has a mandate from voters for his position, and House Republicans believe they have a mandate from voters for theirs.
If everyone in America had read Stephen Moore's new book, "Who's The Fairest of Them All?", Barack Obama would have lost the election in a landslide. The point here is not to say, "Where was Stephen Moore when we needed him?" A more apt question might be, "Where was the whole economics profession when we needed them?" Where were the media? For that matter, where were the Republicans?
The conventional wisdom has emerged that in order to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff," politicians in Washington must agree to some method of tax increases ("revenue") -- which will be real, even if low taxes are not the cause of our ills -- alongside some kind of promise of spending restraint on entitlement programs, which is our problem, and which no one believes Washington will restrain.
In the debate on our fiscal crisis, one crucial question is never answered or even asked: if we’re supposed to go back to Clinton-era tax rates because they were good for America, why don’t we simultaneously return to that era’s spending rates?
In his first formal press conference in months, Barack Obama showed that getting re-elected can increase a president's confidence and combativeness. He staked out tough stands on several issues, especially on the looming budget negotiations.
During last week's presidential debate, Mitt Romney repeatedly promised to "lower taxes on middle-income families" without reducing "the share paid by high-income individuals." But this combination will prove difficult, if not impossible, for the Republican candidate to deliver given the other elements of his tax reform plan -- especially his illogical definition of "middle-income families."